Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Melbourne
Features: All solid wood dreadnought made in Beijing, China in approx. 2010. Solid Adirondack spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. Gloss nitrocellulose finish. Open backed Vintage type tuners, bone nut and saddle. Simple rosette and black binding, a la Martin D18, in fact this is a close copy of a Martin D18 bluegrass style dread. Came with a hard case. Eastman don't make a lot of guitars. They are largely hand made. This one is number 7717. They are very cheap considering the workmanship. // 8
Sound: Great tone, loud, powerful bass, powerful top end. Also has a very classy, harmonically interesting tone from the adirondack. Adirondack spruce was used on Martin guitar tops prior to WWII in the "Golden Age" of guitar making. Eastman buy the second grade adirondack to keep costs down. My top is a little streaky, but tight grained for adirondack. I am convinced that this timber contributes a great deal to the great tone. Adi is the strongest stiffest spruce you can get. More boutique sounding than a Martin D18. I have played this guitar in an Irish session and the volume and projection keep up with fiddles and even accordions. Suits drop tunings. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: OK, the action was a bit high and did require some work. Now plays very well. These are light built guitars and some might get some lift in the neck, bellying of the top. Worth it for the tone though. I actually took the saddle out of the slot and sanded the bridge down a fraction to increase the string break angle. Otherwise superbly finished. Check out the immaculate hand carved bracing on the Eastman forum. Largely hand made guitars, love the neck profile and the volute. Stunning and much more special feeling than mass produced modern Martin in my opinion. // 8
Reliability & Durability: AS stated above, the action got a bit high on this and needed work. But well worth it. Tuners are great. Yes gig with it without backup. This guitar is a keeper. Fitted K&K Pure Western Mini and they work really well. I play regularly with this guitar, both plugged and unplugged. I can rely on it. I buy and sell and lot of guitar but this one is the one I measure the others against. I will not sell this guitar and expect it to last as long as I do! I will get the neck reset if that is ever required. // 8
Overall Impression: Best acoustic guitar I have every owned. Yes there is a cheaper alternative to the big US names. Eastman. This guitar is a big strummer, but sounds great fingerpicked too. Nice strong treble response for a dreadnought style guitar. Will soon own the E20OM model too. I bought a Martin 00015 guitar which has great tone, but does not come out of the case much as it doesn't have the power and resonance of the Eastman.
The E10D is developing with age, yes they do open up as they say. There is a quality to the Eastman that comes from someone shaping the neck by hand and carving the braces by hand. The Martin by comparison lacks character. Also I don't like the very modern shallow neck profile of the Martin. The Eastman neck is just perfect for me, and the OM model has the same profile. Love the volute, which is also where the separate piece of timber for the headstock is joined. I recommend the Eastman Traditional series especially with the Adirondack tops. // 10